ContractorUK Reader Awards 2016: the winners

Numerous changes to contracting over the last year and from this April have not disturbed who IT contractors regard as their favourites.

In fact, the victors of the 10th annual ContractorUK Reader Awards, sponsored by professional indemnity insurer Hiscox and announced today, are mostly former winners.

SJD Accountancy wins ‘Best Contractor Accountant’ for the tenth year in a row; Hays wins ‘Best Recruitment Agency’ since scooping it in 2013, and JobServe retains ‘Best Job Board.’

HSBC takes ‘Best Client’ so it too keeps the accolade it won, in 2014 and 2015 despite since cutting IT contractor pay. Another recent rate-cutting bank, Barclays, is 2016’s second ‘Best Client.’

Smaller and mid-sized winners

But several awards go to non-corporates. Intouch Accounting wins ‘Best Accountant’ in the SME category, the most hotly-contested with 20 accounting firms each vying for the top spot.

Intouch narrowly beats both last year’s winner inniAccounts, which ranks a still respectable second place, and The Accounting Crew, a newcomer to the awards which voters commended.

Another clearly well-regarded adviser Nixon Williams wins the commendation award in its category (large accountant), as does Aston Carter for being third in ‘Best Recruitment Agency.’

Parasol is equally commended for its service -- payroll, and takes third place in the ‘Best Umbrella Company’ category. It signals a return to form for the brolly, as it failed to make the final three at the previous awards.

But giant group secured slightly more votes, making it ContractorUK readers’ second favourite umbrella, trumped only by last year’s runner-up PayStream; now the brolly to beat.

Double-victors

And as if one victory isn’t enough, PayStream wins another award -- second ‘Best Contractor Accountant’ in the large firm category, behind SJD and above Nixon Williams.

Capita is picking up more than one ContractorUK Reader Award as well. In fact, the consultancy has been voted the second ‘Best Recruitment Agency,’ and the second best ‘Training Provider.’

Although Capita’s double accolade is impressive, it is beaten in the training category by The Learning People, the runner-up in 2015 but now voted by contractors as the top provider of IT training.

Yet to experience any such a slip in the rankings is Technojobs.co.uk, which is 2016’s second best ‘Job Board’ in the eyes of ContractorUK readers. It has held the title every year since winning it in 2012.

Cater Allen will hope to emulate such a track record, as it is debuting in the awards as the winner of new category ‘Best Financial Service Provider,’ for its banking services. Hiscox came a close second in the category for its insurance products.

From the Forum...

Meanwhile, for his help and advice to the users of ContractorUK, Darren at Dynamo Accounts – ‘aka’ accountant Darren Roberts, is awarded ‘Best Forum Adviser’ of 2016.

Also recognised for his forum input is SimonMac, he who quotes Marcus Aurelius and who started ‘Dead Celebrities.’ He gets bestowed the coveted title ‘Forum Personality of the Year.’

And when Darren or SimonMac are busy, ContractorUK readers flock to ‘I read somewhere,’ an ever-increasing thread of stories in the press that defy reason. It comfortably wins ‘Most Entertaining Forum Thread.’

A ContractorUK spokesman reflected: “There was some good light relief on our forum in 2016 which helped many of us through not always easy or certain times for professional contracting.

“Those changes to how contractors operate, ranging from the new dividend tax to the imminent overhaul of IR35 in the public sector; may be why contractors are -- by and large -- sticking to who they know. At least that’s what the votes seem to suggest. Our thanks to all who voted and took part in these important awards.”

Jan 25, 2017